“Thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s Womb”

“Thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s Womb”

The conception immaculate.

(The Gospel History, Section 7)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. Now all this is come to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
And they shall call his name Immanuel;

which is, being interpreted, God with us. And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took unto him his wife; and knew her not till she had brought forth a son: and he called his name Jesus.

“Thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s Womb”

(The Saviour of the World, Vol I Book I Poem X)

What happened to the Maid? Did pointed finger,
Eyes turned aside, bring hot blood to her cheek?
Must the Christ enter through low gate of shame,
E’en as through gate of shame they drave Him hence,
That none might taste an anguish strange to Him?

“When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man,
Thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.”

Joseph heard rumours; knew his people’s law,
But suffered for the Maid betrothed to him:
He would not put her to an open shame—
Was minded privily to put her away
In pity, not in anger; he was just.
And, while he pondered, came an angel down
And spake with him by name, knowing his birth,
Though he a poor man’s son and wrought for bread:—

“Fear not thou, Joseph, son of David’s house,
To take thy wife because she hath conceived;
The Child she bears is of the Holy Ghost.
She shall bring forth a Son, and Jesus thou
Shalt name Him, for His people from their sins
He comes to save; thus spake the prophet Esaias:—
‘A Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son,
And they shall call His name Immanuel.’”

These things saw Joseph in his sleep, and rose
To give the shelter of his roof and love
To the sore-grievèd Virgin—maiden-wife.
Acquaint with shame ere yet He left the womb,
The King and Saviour of mankind did come!

St. Matthew i. 18-25.
“A virgin shall conceive.”—Isa. vii. 14.